Government shutdown won't delay Nevada plutonium hearing

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - A federal court hearing will go forward as scheduled in Reno next week on the state's attempt to block the U.S. Energy Department's plans to ship plutonium from South Carolina to Nevada.

That's despite claims by the department's lawyers they need more time to prepare due to the partial government shutdown.

U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du cited "the urgency of the matter" in denying the agency's request to postpone the hearing scheduled Thursday.

Nevada filed suit Nov. 30 accusing the department of failing to properly study the environmental threats posed by moving about a metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium to the nation's former nuclear proving grounds north of Las Vegas.

The government is under a court order to move the material out of a refining complex in South Carolina by 2020.

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